RealtyBid, an online home auction company, reports that its Web site traffic nearly tripled in 2008 over 2007. The company also saw a 26% increase in home sales during the fourth quarter of 2008 over the same period in 2007, reflecting the continued rise in foreclosures and, in turn, the high demand for bank-owned properties.
During 11 of the 12 months in 2008, RealtyBid's monthly inventory of properties available at auction topped more than 1,000. President and CEO Tony Isbell says the company anticipates offering more than 5,500 properties for auction during the first quarter of 2009, and Executive Vice President Mike Keracher adds that the company has seen an increase in owner-occupant sales.
"Just two years ago, close to 90 percent of our home sales were to investors, and now, our sales are closer to 60 percent investor and 40 percent owner-occupant," Keracher says. The shift indicates a higher comfort level among everyday buyers – and not just investors – when it comes to bidding for real estate online, he says.